Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 8 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 872

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 846

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 847

Warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 851

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 846

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 847

Warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 851

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 8 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 872

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 8 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 872

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 846

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 847

Warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 851

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 846

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 847

Warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 851

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 8 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 872

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 846

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 847

Warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 851

Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 846

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 847

Warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 4 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 851

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 8 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 872

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 8 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 872

Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 8 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 872
The Society in Crisis! - FGS Wiki

The Society in Crisis!


Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: group name must start with a non-digit at offset 8 in /home/ens9/public_html/fgs/mwiki/includes/MagicWord.php on line 872
From FGS Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
(Blanked the page)
 
Line 1: Line 1:
 +
== INTRODUCTION ==
  
 +
Crises that strike genealogical organizations are
 +
varied. They can be:
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>Legal actions
 +
<li>Lack of interest by members
 +
<li>Not enough “key players” to perform the
 +
major work of the society
 +
<li>Disregard for the society’s bylaws
 +
<li> Schism among members
 +
<li>Despotism of leaders
 +
<li> Loss of meeting site
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
 +
== STRATEGIES ==
 +
 +
Whatever the society’s problem, some basic
 +
strategies are the same:
 +
 +
'''Know Your Society’s Bylaws'''
 +
Sometimes the crisis is that the officers and board
 +
are acting in violation of the society’s bylaws. The
 +
parliamentarian should point out the digressions to
 +
the organizations’ leaders. If they do not correct
 +
their action, the membership should be informed
 +
and further action taken.
 +
 +
'''Act in a Professional Manner'''
 +
A genealogical society usually is a not-for-profit
 +
group that meets casually, and typically is
 +
managed by a volunteer board of directors.
 +
However, this does not mean that officers and
 +
board members should act unprofessionally.
 +
Especially in a crisis situation, it is important to
 +
act in a manner governed by logic and not
 +
emotion. Discourteous behavior will only worsen
 +
the situation. It is particularly important to act
 +
professionally when outsiders are involved, such
 +
as in a court case, or when talking to the media.
 +
 +
'''Get Good Advice'''
 +
In the case of legal crises, this means retaining
 +
the services of an attorney. Although suits against
 +
genealogical societies are relatively rare, they do
 +
occur. Some “hot spots” are society publications
 +
(targets of libel actions); and educational events,
 +
where accidents may occur or discrimination be
 +
perceived.
 +
 +
The society should consider insurance for the
 +
society and its board members before a legal
 +
crisis occurs. This will help protect individuals
 +
from being personally punished in the event of a
 +
legal decision against the organization.
 +
 +
Sometimes it makes sense to seek the advice of an
 +
expert in the area of crisis. Examples include
 +
professional fund-raisers, treasurers for commercial
 +
businesses, secretaries, and time management
 +
professionals. An accountant specializing in notfor-profit organizations should be consulted in the
 +
event of serious financial problems or audits by the
 +
Internal Revenue Service.
 +
 +
Getting the advice of business professionals,
 +
attorneys, or accountants may cost the society
 +
money, but these are dollars well spent. In non-legal situations, consider the experiences of
 +
other societies. Consult societies in your area or
 +
attend the Open Forum at the Federation of
 +
Genealogical Societies national conference for a
 +
national perspective. Hear how others have avoided
 +
or solved similar problems. The strategies that have
 +
worked for them might be successfully adapted for
 +
your organization.
 +
 +
'''Delegate Responsibilities'''
 +
Assigning work may be hard for busy, responsible
 +
people, but not doing this can cause trouble! When
 +
tasks are not divided and delegated, a very small
 +
number of the same people continue to do all of the
 +
work. This leads to frustration, particularly if
 +
unexpected vacancies occur on the board or in
 +
other key roles.
 +
 +
Another danger is that long-term management by
 +
a small group can result in too much “ownership”
 +
in positions. The faithful few may resist allowing
 +
new people into leadership roles in “their”
 +
organization. This can happen when people invest
 +
so much time and energy that the society becomes
 +
part of their self-image.
 +
 +
Cultivate volunteers before the society gets into a
 +
crisis situation. Discourage no one. Find work for
 +
everyone. Remember, the society belongs to all
 +
members.
 +
 +
'''Communicate!'''
 +
Do not try to hide a significant crisis from the
 +
membership. Minor problems may be kept
 +
transparent. Major problems that directly affect
 +
members or their benefits require disclosure.
 +
Most bylaws identify member benefits, such as a
 +
quarterly publication. If six months go by without
 +
one, members may wonder what their dues pay
 +
for. They also may reconsider renewing their
 +
membership. Instead of silently skipping an
 +
issue, a society whose editor has resigned might
 +
consider sending postcards explaining the
 +
situation.
 +
 +
Such a communication can have added positive
 +
effects – someone may be able to offer a solution
 +
or volunteer to help!
 +
 +
'''Ask for Help!'''
 +
Don’t hesitate to ask members for help. Use the
 +
society’s periodical and the podium at meetings
 +
to describe the problem and let members know
 +
how they can help the society.
 +
 +
Many people are hesitant to volunteer. Board
 +
members should personally approach members
 +
whose talents would be an asset to the society. If
 +
the individual declines, he or she may
 +
recommend someone else. Follow up on leads!
 +
Besides helping to solve a crisis, bringing “new
 +
blood” into the ring of leaders reaps an additional
 +
benefit. Newcomers often bring renewed
 +
excitement and enthusiasm to the society’s
 +
leadership.
 +
 +
'''Solve Problems as Quickly as Possible'''
 +
One problem leads to another. Rather than ignore
 +
a problem and allow it to grow into a major
 +
crisis, or to develop into several problems, try to
 +
solve it as soon as it arises. Call a conference,
 +
whether in person or by telephone or e-mail with
 +
the pertinent parties. Discover the facts. Gather
 +
information. Brainstorm solutions. Set goals and
 +
report back.
 +
 +
Shift the Paradigms of the Society
 +
Bylaws should work for and not against the
 +
society. If it becomes impossible to publish the six
 +
issues of the newsletter specified by the bylaws,
 +
perhaps the bylaws need to be changed.
 +
The tricky part is shifting the society’s paradigm in
 +
mid-membership year. Again, it is wise to be
 +
honest. If members paid dues believing they would
 +
get six newsletters and they are abruptly informed
 +
– or not informed at all – that they will receive only
 +
three, some may feel slighted. To maintain good
 +
will, explain the problem and the proposed change.
 +
Bylaws changes reflecting the society’s new profile
 +
should be made. To avoid future problems, make
 +
bylaws non-specific as to number of publications.
 +
“The Society will publish a periodical, whose
 +
frequency is to be determined by the board of
 +
directors,” is one solution.
 +
 +
 +
== WHEN “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” ==
 +
 +
As leaders of a society in crisis, do what you can
 +
do, but stop short of sacrificing your own family,
 +
health, and career. Those who are active in a
 +
society have a stake in its future. When the society
 +
is in crisis, it is natural to want to do anything to
 +
“fix” it, from giving more and more time to do all
 +
of the jobs that need doing, to lying awake at night
 +
worrying about the organization.
 +
 +
But sometimes this desire to keep a society going
 +
at its former pace can be a strain on the individuals
 +
involved. In the extreme, it can cause a breach in
 +
the family, problems on the job, and even affect an
 +
individual’s health. It is important to remember
 +
that although a genealogical society is a
 +
worthwhile organization, it is just an organization.
 +
Know When it is Time to Say “Enough”
 +
Most societies wax and wane in the level of their
 +
activity, including publishing, hosting workshops,
 +
and completing projects. Their membership
 +
numbers rise and fall. Much of this depends on the
 +
dynamics of the current board of directors.
 +
However, there comes a time in the life of some
 +
societies when keeping the organization alive no
 +
longer makes sense.
 +
 +
Some questions to discuss might be:
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>Has the society outlived its usefulness?
 +
<li>Are there enough interested individuals
 +
to keep the society viable?
 +
<li>Are there enough individuals who are
 +
willing to do the work required to keep
 +
the society functioning?
 +
<li>Is another society in the area filling the
 +
needs that this society once filled?
 +
</ul>
 +
Alternatives exist to dissolving the society all
 +
together. It may be possible to merge with
 +
another area society. This spreads the work to be
 +
done among a larger constituency.
 +
 +
 +
== HAVE A PLAN ==
 +
 +
Before the next crisis strikes, officers and
 +
members of the board of directors should work
 +
on a “disaster plan.” Not every contingency can
 +
be anticipated, but the types of crises, as noted at
 +
the beginning of this paper, can be addressed and
 +
possible actions in the event of their occurrence
 +
can be planned. A society is stronger in a crisis
 +
when it can act instead of react. Some ideas:
 +
% Suggest strongly that officers and other
 +
members of the board of directors study
 +
the bylaws and remain familiar with
 +
them.
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>Have the names of an attorney, an
 +
accountant who specializes in not-for-profit organizations, and other experts on
 +
file.
 +
<li>Cultivate members who are too busy to
 +
become actively involved now, but who
 +
could be strong officers and committee
 +
chairs in the future. Give them less time-consuming jobs to do now to keep them
 +
actively involved in the society. This will be the society’s “back-up” team: in training
 +
as the next generation of officers.
 +
<li>Formulate a plan to market the society
 +
should its membership numbers begin to
 +
fall, and be open to changing objectives if
 +
they are not meeting the needs and desires
 +
of potential members.
 +
<li>Encourage respectful and courteous
 +
behavior at all times between board
 +
members, even when disagreements arise.
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
 +
== CONCLUSION ==
 +
 +
As innocuous as an organization like a
 +
genealogical society may seem, they are not
 +
immune to problems. These may take the form of
 +
political strife and infighting, the apathy of
 +
formerly enthusiastic members, resignation of
 +
leaders, legal actions, and countless other crises.
 +
These situations are painful to experience, but can
 +
be overcome. When the society survives, it may
 +
emerge from the crisis stronger, with leaders that
 +
are less complacent and more aware, and who have
 +
a plan for handling similar problems that may arise
 +
in the future.

Latest revision as of 07:44, 30 August 2013

Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Toolbox